Welcome to the first post, thanks for stopping by!
My name is Russell and I'm attending the Popup Business School at the Mr. Money Mustache HQ in Longmont, Colorado. The best part? The training, flights, car, and lodging is all free! The obvious question then is how? Let's break it down.
First the course. The Popup Business School is a UK based business that teaches people how to start their own businesses quickly and cheaply, without being bogged down by writing business plans that immediately become obsolete, or by taking out huge loans. They travel around "popping up" around the UK (and now the US!) doing seminars ranging from a few days to multiple weeks. The session I'm attending is the massive two week one and we have the pleasure of meeting Mr. Money Mustache himself! This session has been sponsored by a variety of companies (Betterment, Bluehost, and Treehouse; the links because I'm here on their dime!) One and a half days of free education in and I already have a website, also free!
Total value: $500
Next is the flights and car. This is all thanks to travel hacking and the Chase Sapphire Rewards card and the juicy bonus they are giving away. In a nutshell travel hacking is based around getting a credit card with some signup bonus, using it until you get the reward (usually this is spend X dollars in three or so months, more on this later), and then moving on. Now some people get pretty fancy with this, personally I'm a bit more laid back. I have only gotten two cards in the last year, so about six months per card.
The Chase Sapphire Rewards card is the one that got me here today, here are some bullet points about it.
I took the 50,000 bonus points, and bought the plane tickets for my girlfriend and I to fly out here. Two round trip tickets on Jetblue from Boston to Denver: ~48,300 points. Because I got the plane tickets, my girlfriend got the car. It cost less than the round trip plane so I don't owe her any extra for that. If it was just me I may have come up short on points, luckily we could split it! Worth noting, you can pay for a portion of a flight, car, hotel, etc with points and the rest with cash. Value.
Total value: ~$605
It's worth noting now that if you are interested in getting this card (or others), you need to have a decent, 700+, credit score, average spending that is able to qualify, and pay off the balance every month. The credit card companies make their money when people don't pay off their cards... Pay yours off, this money is only free if you don't up your spending to qualify, and don't pay them back by paying interest. My favorite place to find cards is on the MadFientist Travel Card page. Quick disclosure: the cards there are affiliated with the Mad Fientist so he will get a kickback if you sign up with his links. It doesn't change what you get, the credit card companies are just paying him to send them customers.
Finally let's talk about lodging... or rather camping... for free.
There's this great website FreeCampsites.net. You just put in a zip code or location and it'll show you all the nearby camping. You can look for free only, as well as specify if you are tent camping, RVing, etc. Each location has some info about the location, an address, as well as comments by other people who have stayed there. Most of the free sites are rustic, but with a little planning during the day we've been ok. I'm a fan. You should be too. I assume about $20 a night for camping, and we'll be here for 14 nights so:
Total value: $280
Overall I've saved ~$605 on airfare, $500 for the Popup Business School, and $280 on lodging . Total: $1,385
Now I am paying for gas and food which let's say will average to about $5 on gas and $5 on food. So I'll spend about $120 plus other misc stuff, say $100 or so, for a spending total of $220.
Grand total: ~$1,165
Not too shabby if I do say so myself. I hope you enjoyed reading!